Climate Ecology Geology 

Fossil pollen holds clues to past

By Mackenzie Myers What if, instead of ancient treasure and tombs, Indiana Jones researched ancient pollen and soil?  Beyond just a seasonal nuisance or a crucial component of agriculture, pollen can be a key to understanding the past. It clues researchers in to how land was used thousands of years ago, as well as what the climate conditions were like at that time. And according to a new study from North Carolina State University, this tool may be available in more areas than previously thought.  Painting the past with fossil…

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cultural heritage and citizen science Citizen Science Ecology SciStarter Blog 

Cultural Heritage and Citizen Science

Citizen science for your ears The latest episode of Citizen Science, the podcast from SciStarter, is the first of two episodes about how regular people help cultural heritage institutions like archives, libraries, and museums do scientific research, like uploading photographs to iNaturalist or eBird, or volunteering with a local water organization to monitor stream and river quality. Co-host Justin Schell shares how natural history museums and libraries encourage everyday people to take part in local, national, and global science projects.  The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County In the…

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Photo 5726794, (c) Sean Blaney, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). This observation on iNaturalist is of a species tracked by the Northeast Alpine Flower Watch project. Biodiversity Citizen Science Ecology SciStarter Blog 

Explore Biodiversity with iNaturalist

Do you want to know more about the world around you? You can get outside and explore biodiversity and the natural environment with iNaturalist!  iNaturalist allows anyone, anywhere to contribute to a global record of biodiversity by uploading pictures of plants and animals with their smartphone or computer. In a new podcast episode (listen below!), co-host Justin Schell talks with Dr. Carrie Seltzer, the Stakeholder Engagement Strategist for iNaturalist, and with representatives and a volunteer from the Appalachian Mountain club. Tip: add your iNaturalist username to your SciStarter dashboard, and…

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Ecology Science Debate Series Science Policy 

Could Agriculture Save US Water Supply?

By Mackenzie Myers This article is part of a series about key science policy issues. Please use these articles to become an informed voter, ask political candidates about the issues, and put every candidate on record about science. This time of year in California’s Central Valley, it’s easy to see where the Golden State gets its nickname. Golden sun shines on golden grasses of rolling golden hills, parched after so many months without rain, which is unlikely to return for at least several more weeks. Even so, there are signs…

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Citizen Science Ecology SciStarter Blog 

STEM Career Q and A with Joe Siegrist

This STEM Career Q and A is part two of three in a collaboration between SciStarter and Career in STEM, in which writers will spotlight different citizen science projects, interview project leaders about their careers, and create educational content for teachers and students. This series is available from Science Connected, Career in STEM, SciStarter, and Discover Magazine.  In this STEM Career Q and A, we talk with the lead of Project MartinRoost. Learn about his STEM career and how you can participate in the project. Q: What citizen science project do you represent? Three projects:…

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Citizen Science Ecology SciStarter Blog 

Project Martin Roost: A Scavenger Hunt in Your Backyard

This is part one of three in a collaboration between SciStarter and Career in STEM, in which writers will spotlight different citizen science projects, interview project leaders about their careers, and create educational content for teachers and students. This series is available from Science Connected, Career in STEM, SciStarter, and Discover Magazine.  As the sun sinks low below the horizon and the crisp night air begins to descend, a miraculous sight can be seen in many areas across the continental United States. Hundreds of thousands of birds will suddenly appear…

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Ecology Opinion Science Policy 

Decolonizing Ecology for Socially Just Science

Opinion By Suzanne Xianran Ou (@suzanneou) and Adriana L. Romero-Olivares (@fungi_lover) Science attempts to describe nature at all scales, including globally. But scientists and the institutional structures and gatekeepers, such as governments, universities, and science journal editors, who determine what is considered “good science” in our modern world, represent countries with great economic power, collectively known as the Global North. To move forward with a broad perspective and as a globally connected scientific community, we must be inclusive of all scientists around the world, including those from countries with less…

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Citizen Science Ecology 

Monitoring Soil Health through Citizen Science

By Sandra Arango-Caro and Terry Woodford-Thomas MO DIRT, Missourians Doing Impact Research Together, is a program that educates individuals on soil science and engages them as citizen scientists. These volunteers contribute baseline information that helps our understanding of the current health status of Missouri soils. Soil health is the ability of the soil to function as a vital ecosystem that sustains living organisms, their processes, and environmental quality. Human existence is determined in part by soil health because of its critical role in food security and climate security.  Citizen science…

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Ecology SciStarter Blog 

Protect Local Waterways with the EarthEcho Water Challenge

By Sean Russell On March 22, this year’s EarthEcho Water Challenge kicked off, empowering young people and community members around the world to monitor and protect local water resources in their communities. Initiated in 2003 as the World Water Monitoring Challenge (in celebration of the U.S. Clean Water Act), this year-round, global program is designed to connect anyone, of any age, to their local water resources through water quality monitoring. Participants share their water quality data through the global EarthEcho Water Challenge online database, contributing to our understanding of the…

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Ecology Geology 

Exploring the Science of Mountain Biodiversity

By Jacqueline Mattos (@mattosjacq) Mountain systems are hotspots of biodiversity, which means that they host many different species of many taxonomic groups in condensed spatial scales. Much has been studied about mountains and their diversity, but the biological and geological processes that maintain their great number of species remain elusive. In a recent review in Nature Geoscience, Alexandre Antonelli and colleagues have accounted for many different aspects of mountains and their diversity, trying to fill in the many gaps in this field of study by quantifying the relative importance of…

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